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Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) - Founders Brewing Company

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Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale)Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale)

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3,871 Ratings
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Ratings: 3,871
Reviews: 1,134
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 10.7%
Wants: 156
Gots: 770 | FT: 47
Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Old Ale |  9.80% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 08-31-2005

Old ale brewed with molasses and oak-aged.

50 IBU
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,871 | Reviews: 1,134
Photo of n2185
3.72/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottled in March of 2010

A: Pours a murky caramel brown with a finger of off-white head that recedes into a thin ring with no lacing.

S: Lots of caramel malts up front with some hints of vanilla. There are some light citrus and alcohol notes in there as well. I also pick up a bit of powdery cocoa aroma.

T: Similar to the aroma, lots of caramel flavors with some vanilla notes. Some slight biscuity bitterness as well. Sticky sweet with a light alcohol burn on the finish.

M: Medium-thick body with low carbonation, this beer is sticky and chewy, but avoids being cloyingly sweet.

O: Overall, a decent old ale. Even with a year on it, there are still some hop and alcohol notes present. Unfortunately, I think it may have oxidized slightly. I will have to try it again fresh.

Photo of mklooster
3.84/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Reddish gold in color. Very pale head with moderate lacing.

S - Sweet, with a hint of sourness. It has hints of fig and dried cherry.

T - Slightly boozy, very malty. It doesn't taste as sweet as it smells, which, for me, is a good thing.

M - Just the right amount of carbonation - still nice and creamy.

O - A decent old ale. Not as good as 4D or Kaiser Curmudgeon, but still very drinkable .

Photo of StoutHunter
4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I bought a bottle of Founders Curmudgeon Old Ale for $2.99 at The Lager Mill. I have been wanting to try this for a long time now since I love the style and Founders is the king of big beers, so when I saw that this years batch was released I knew I had to give it a try. Bottled on April 9th 2011. Poured from a short 12oz brown bottle into my snifter.

A- The label is nice looking, its got a picture of an old guy that looks like who could have been a poet or philosophizer. Curmudgeon poured a nice hazy caramel amber color with a very thin layer of off white head that quickly died down to a small thin patch in the middle of the glass.

S- This beer smells pretty malty, in fact the aroma is pretty much all malt. Theres lots of caramel and toffee malts that have a large amount of sweetness to them. The malts impart some nice caramel and vanilla aromas along with a good amount of dark fruits, mainly raisins. There is a descent amount of booze that almost gives it a scotch like aroma without the smoky peat.

T- The taste pretty much mirrors the aroma exactly. Thankfully the malts are not as sweet as they were in the aroma and they impart lots of nice caramel, toffee, vanilla, and raisin flavors, as it warmed up a nice presence of cherrys showed up. The booze is there and it is warming but it doesn't stick out too much, just like it should be for this style. The finish had a nice bitter dose of grassy hops that blended nicely with the other flavors and helped balance out the sweetness and booze.

M- It was slightly creamy and full bodied. The carbonation was a little bellow average, I know a small amount of head is typical for Old Ales and Barleywines but this one seemed to be less then most.

Overall I thought this was a pretty damn good Old Ale. The only other Old Ale I have had was Third Coast Old Ale, so I don't have tons of experience with this style but I find it to be pretty similar to a Barleywine. For being almost 10% this beer was pretty damn drinkable, it went down a lot faster then I expected, even though the alcohol was there and a little warming it was still hidden and blended nicely with the other flavors. I would buy a four pack of this to age till the winter, this beer seems like it would make a nice big beer to drink around the fireplace during the winter, seems like this beer is more suited for a winter release. My only complaint about this beer was it's head but that is borderline nitpicking. If you like Old Ales, Barleywines, or just big beers in general this is a must try. Founders truly is the king of big beers, they just alway turn out kick ass, and thats what makes Founders one of Michigan's best brewing companys.

Photo of kdiggidy
4.13/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a tulip glass.

A - an aggressive pour yields a nice inch of head that disappears fairly quickly. A dark brown, caramel colored brew.

S - raisins and other dark fruit, slight alcohol.

T - malty, surprisingly sweet for 9.8 abv, especially as it warms. A bit boozy on the back end.

M - very creamy. Just a small sip seems to coat the inside of the mouth very well.

O - a great old ale. It's tough to drink this and not think of how absolutely amazing the Kaiser Curmudgeon was at KBS day, but this beer is no slouch by any means.

Happy Drinking!

Photo of ForkAndSpoonOp
4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My girlfriend recently sent me home with an entire box of goodies out of her collection. She raves about Founders pretty frequently, and she specifically pointed the Curmudgeon out as one I might like. I will forgo my usual vaguely witty review conceit, because I don't feel like calling anyone a whippersnapper. Though, in the interest of full disclosure, I am listening to this song as I type:

Poured 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass. Lovely amber color. The one finger tan head receded quickly to just a halo.

Malt is the first six things I smell. After all that, a bit of caramel and toffee coming through. Raisins and alcohol are both in there, too; making me think of fruitcake.

Very malt-forward again, which makes sense. Raisins, scotch, and that caramel/toffee again. I can taste the booze, but it stops just short of off-putting. A little bit of hop bitterness at the back end, again just enough.

Mouthfeel is creamy, with mild carbonation. Goes down easy for almost 10%, though that's probably the highest ABV I'd find pleasant unless it were masked REALLY well.

Founders has definitely earned my repeat business. Got quite a few of these, actually, so I'm gonna see how they age.

Photo of silentjay
3.83/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

a bit lighter than i expected with a nice sized light tan head made up of large bubbles that laces well.

rather light aroma of raisins, some vanilla and oakiness, toffee, and caramel.

flavor starts with raisins, dark fruits, a bit of a metallic sensation, but is smoothed out a subtle oakiness with some smooth caramel sweetness that gives way to a slight alcohol heat on the finish.

a bit thin with very little carbonation.

I thought it would be a bit stronger in aroma and flavor with a thicker feel, but its still tasty.

Photo of jayhawk73
4.47/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a medium brown/amber/crimson with a finger of cocoa head which quickly disappears. Not much lacing or carbonation on this beer. Somewhat murky with crimson highlights when held up to the light. Looking forward to my first 'old ale'.

S- Wowsa. Love the smell of this. Oak, caramel, toffee, malt, vanilla (?). Very sweet, but almost like a port or after dinner drink. Fabulous. This one tastes as good as it smells and I'm in for a treat.

T- Wow. Very Nice. All the nose is here w/ a big malt backbone. Reminds me a little of a barleywine w/ less hops and more malt. I really like this beer, and will have to seek out more Old Ales. Really get that oak aged bourbon taste with this one- very nice.

M- Very smooth, w/ some alcohol burn, especially w/ the aftertaste. Love it. Very balanced, and takes you on a journey down an amazing path stopping just short of perfection.

O- This was my first experience w/ an Old Ale, but I really enjoyed it. Founders is a really fine brewer of beers, and I have not been let down by this one at all. In fact, this beer has made me want to search out others of this style. Highly recommended.

Photo of BZero007
3.63/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a 4 pack from Rick's Wine and Gourmet.

I have been going through a Old Ale withdrawl phase, and picked this 4 pack up with joy.
Pours a great looking Amber brown color with a pretty tan head forming, leaving lace behind. Aroma was of sweet malts with a light caramel and heat. Taste was interesting for a old Ale as I lean more towards malt base for this style. This old ale was good though I felt the malt didnt jump out and the carbonation was a bit to much. The brew taste too crisp for this stle to me. Possibly with some age the malt may jump out ahead. Aging the last 3 brews to see how she does.

Photo of celticfutblclub
4.02/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A - a nice copper/brown color with a finger thick tan head that settles quickly to a thin line. nice lacing.

S - strong smells of scotch, raisins, caramel. in the back i'm getting faint smells of wheat grass and orange.

T - raisins biscuit and caramel malts hit up front. good pine hops at the back that don't balance it (nor should they) but just add a nice bitter finish.

M - definitely full bodied with a decent amount of carbonation. leaves a bit of puckering and there is definitely a good feel of alcohol on the throat.

O - this is one damn fine old ale. theres a lot going on in every aspect of this beer and it just comes off as a cut above the rest.

Photo of mjpolzin
3.54/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

When I went to open up this beer, for some reason I thought it was going to be a stout. Someone bought it for me for a gift and it is someone who knows I like dark beers so not ever having heard of this one before and not really reading the label, I thought I was getting a stout. I was not disappointed though as I really like this ale.

The appearance in the glass was one of my favorite things about this beer. It looked almost like apple cider to me in the glass. The taste to me was initially malty and spicy. I also got a bread flavor as the beer was going down.

The high alcohol was noticable but not overpower which is what I like in a high abv beer. I will for sure get this one again!

Photo of Roke87
4.32/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, slightly chilled and poured into a Stella Chalice.
Bottle Date: April.4/2011

Appearance- Pours a clear dark amber colour with a nice finger of white head that quickly dissipates to a small bubbly ring leaving very minimal amounts of lacing.

Smell- sweet vanilla and toffee mixed with citrusy fruity floral hops come to the nose right off the bat, malts and woody flavours also come into play.

Taste- Just like the smells this one is sweet for from vanilla and toffee balanced nicely by dark fruity hop flavours although the hops are very muted. Finishes with a bready malty woody flavour, you can taste the alcohol but it is disguised nicely by all the complex flavours.

Mouthfeel- Full bodied ale with average carbonation that forms a nice ring on the top of the glass until the brew is finished, creamy smooth and crisp on the palate as well.

Overall- Yet another amazing offering from Founders and something that I would definitely pursue again, it’s really too bad this is only a seasonal offering because this one would be great year round. A great drinking old ale that hides the high ABV very well, smooth crisp and almost too easy drinking. I would definitely pick this one up in a heartbeat and hope I can find it again on my next beer haul to the States.

Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.08/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Captainren for sending a 4 Pack out to Portland.

A- Reddish cloudy amber with a thin tan head. Good lacing

S- Not much smell here. Should I be worried?

T- Ahh, there it is. Sweet fruit, cherries, spice.

D- Slightly oily in the mouth, smooth, a small bitter bite at the end.

O- I could easily drink multiple of these. Good stuff.

Photo of mwagner1018
4.08/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a dark amber copper color, very little to no head, very typical of the style.

S- Toffee, vanilla, floral hops, definite golden raisin fruity sweetness.

T- Similar flavors reflected from the initial aroma, vanilla, caramel, fruits, a very nice hop presence. Good balanced bitterness to finish.

M- Full bodied, velvety.

Overall- This is a great Old Ale, booze is well hidden, nicely balanced, good piny resinous balance to the sweetness of the malt.

Photo of ThoreauLikeAGirl
4.08/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into a snifter.

Pours a translucent rich brown/ruby color. no head to speak of. ample carbonation bubbles up the side of the glass leave a ring of bubbly foam at the edges.

the nose is boozy. sweet and caramely. my horrible judge of distance just caused my nose to go into the beer by trying to discern what was in the background. this happens way too often to be comfortable with. raisins? i can't tell.

i think i'm drinking this too cold, but i'm getting a bit impatient to try this. first thing i taste is the booze. not killer, though. also a bunch of malts, and some bitterness near the end. there are those raisins i thought i smelled. this is a complex tasting brew. each sip is different. gets a bit sweeter as it warms. definitely a sipping beer. the heat from the alcohol is warming and nice. starting to already feel a bit tipsy from this. would be a nice beer to sip during the winter in front of a fireplace. i now want to roast marshmallows, even though it's 80 degrees out and sunny.

overall, another good beer from founders. they are working their way up to becoming my favorite brewery.

Photo of machostacos
4.45/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12oz bottle into a tulip. Bottle dated 4/9/11.

A: Rich ruby-amber color, clear as day, with a thin soapy eggshell-white head that leaves a thin film and collar that clings to the glass. Beautiful lacing. Looks gorgeous in my tulip!

S: Leather; aged, musty, water-logged wood; prunes and sticky dried figs; a little brown sugar; vanilla; bourbon-like alcohol burn. The alcohol is evident but well-incorporated even at only a month in the bottle.

T: Exactly like the aroma - like drinking an old leather-bound book dipped in molasses and bourbon. The oak aging is very apparent in the flavor: the wood and vanilla notes really pop. Luscious dark fruits like prunes and sticky figs, a little whole grain toast, and lots of bourbon-like alcohol. The alcohol vapors and vanilla hang in your breath. Damn, this is good.

M: A little thinner than I expected, though this is certainly no slouch. Oily and viscous, with little carbonation, though not as thick or chewy as I anticipated. Leaves a slick sensation in your mouth, along with some heat from the alcohol.

Overall, this is one of the best Old Ale's I've had (right up there with Bell's Third Coast Old Ale.) I'm sure this would be a real winner with a year or more of age on it to help mellow the booziness and build a little more character, but it's fantastic fresh as well. A really solid Old Ale by my favorite brewery!

Photo of output01x
4.02/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle (Bottled On 04/04/11) into a snifter glass.

A vigorous pour yields a 1-finger cream-colored head atop a translucent amber red body. The head recedes in a couple minutes to a thin dusting and thick foam ring. Thin lacing attempts to stick to the glass, but fails in the long run.

Sweet dark malt aromas with notes of caramel, wood, dark fruits, and a medicinal alcohol. Complex and strong, the nose is both striking and inviting.

Sweet caramelized malts rest on the front of the tongue while piney hops work the back. Notes of raisins and wood are also detectable. A good bitterness settles in the back of the mouth along with a bourbon-like alcohol heat.

Full bodied with good carbonation, this thick beer surprisingly fizzes on your tongue if held long enough. The high carbonation gives it a nearly creamy mouthfeel and allows for great drinkability. Unfortunately, the overly bold flavors make this one a definite sipper.

Photo of perrymarcus
4.17/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle served in a snifter.
(review from notes of 5/7/11)

pours a cloudy, dark amber tone yielding a 1" or so fast-dissipating off-white head; some lacing.

nose is sweet / malt-forward with notes of dark fruits, bourbon, vanilla, and some alcohol.

taste mostly follows the aroma. caramel malt, a touch of dark fruitiness, and subtle notes of the bourbon, vanilla, and booze. a hint of molasses. good degree of complexity and pretty damn tasty. and while the alcohol is evident it's fairly well hidden considering an ABV of nearly 10%.

mouthfeel is on the fuller side of medium-full with average carbonation.

overall, another keeper from founders. wouldn't call it a homerun necessarily, but still very good (maybe an RBI single).

Photo of OldIronLungs
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dumped into a Duvel tulip a dark honey red with a thin film of head. This one's actually an old Old Curmudgeon, had it hiding in wait from last year, but I'm glad I've two more of these malcontents locked up for future assessment.

A whiff pulls up lightly boozy caramel, some raisins and liquorish.

A sip is grassy pine hops quickly assaulted with a malty dark caramel then raisins and alcohol that's port-like in warmth. Light carbonation - slick and smooth throughout, really clinging to the mouth. This is a sipper - it still seems hot and aggressive even for an old ale. There's already a lot going on, especially as it warms up. I think I preferred Black Biscuit more, but this is really enjoyable overall and I can't wait for it to become a more sedate, institutionalized old curmudgeon.

Photo of csrbv
4.94/5  rDev +22.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Very little head despite a strong pour. Has a hazy copper color and a small, cream colored head.

S: The smell of bourbon barrels is apparent as soon as I pour this beer. Also has a sweet malty scent to it with a bit of alcohol as well.

T: The taste is sweet, caramel malts and a bit of honey are the main flavors up front. The oak barrels come through as well with some alcohol bursting through in the finish.

M: Full bodied with light carbonation. Awesome mouthfeel.

D: Another quality brew from Founders! It's hard to find anything that I don't like from them. The oak barrels are a nice touch giving this beer some nice flavor.

Photo of Franz4
3.93/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a chalice 2011 version bottles 4/4/11

A- Pours a dark copper with just a thin ring around the edge of the glass. Beer is slightly translucent.

S- first hit consists of just a touch of heat, followed by some raisin and fig notes. Malt backbone is present, but it seems most of the nose is relatively muted.

T- Gets more complex as it warms. Sweetness up front followed by pine bitterness in the back of the mouth. Neither is overpowering and they are balanced quite nicely. Raisin and plum are also present, as well as just a touch of heat that was also noticeable in the nose.

M- carbonation greets you and then gives way to a pillowy, silky smooth feel that is very, very nice.

O- A very good beer that's a definite sipper. This is very enjoyable now, but I'm also anxiously anticipating how this one might age, if the dark fruits note come out and the heat dies down just a bit this could be a very quaffable brew--still a sipper, but a mighty fine sipper.

Photo of foogerd
3.97/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Deep orange almost toffee colored relatively clear body with a small tan head.

S- Bready biscuity sweet toasted malts with brown sugar. Some light spice notes.

T- Follows nose but with a quite discernible hops presence, very grassy and herbal qualities which offset the sweetness of the malts. Nice woody oak taste at the finish. Abv is not felt for the most part.

M- Smooth with moderate carbonation.

O- Very tasty old ale I would have liked to have seen less hops. Probably would do great with some aging.

Photo of deadonhisfeet
3.64/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark amber and I got a very big frothy off-white head. The aroma is mainly fruity (cherry???) with some medicinal notes (like a dentist's office).

The first thing I taste is sweetness from the malt, then in mid-palate it gives way to alcohol. I can definitely taste the alcohol here. It produces a taste that's more suited to Cisco or some other ``bum wine'' than a beer of this calibre. To be fair, the description of Old Ale on this website describes it as having sharp alcohol characteristics, so perhaps I should be giving it high marks for this instead of criticizing. Still, it's making it difficult for my (lousy) tongue to detect bitterness from the hops or any other elusive flavors that may be present.

Curmudgeon may well be the best representation of this style available on the market today, and I wouldn't know it because I have little experience with Old Ales. Would I buy this again? Probably not. Would I buy any other beers of this style? Possibly, but there are other styles I prefer much more. Still, given Founders' reputation and the quality of their other beers, I'm very glad I tried this one.

Photo of wvsabbath
3.88/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving Type - Bottle

Appearance - Orange/brown, tan. Lots of floaters. 1/2 inch creamy head. Very cloudy. Looks like a ipa

Smell - Hops, Malts, grassy, earthy. Sugars, alcohol. Some citrus spices.

Taste - Starts very malty, with plenty of booze. Hops are orange and pineapple flavored. There is a oaked barrel flavor thats very present. Plenty of carmel and brown sugar/molasses.

Mouthfeel - Its strong and a mouth wrecker. Medium thickness coats whole mouth with malts, alcohol and sweetness to work over mouth.

Overall - Its a big, strong boozy ale with lots of flavor. Some say its too much but hey, its a near 10% beer and its made by founders, enough said right?. I would swear this had been aged in oak barrels. I must ask is this really a old ale? One and done beer for sure.

Photo of deebo
3.5/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

09 from keg

A-Cloudy with some foam that laces and hangs on throughout. Deep orange color.

S-Oak is predominant aroma with this one.

T-Nice flavor but alcohol note is a bit stronger than I'd like.

M-Thick, a substantial drink.

D-Pretty good considering the strength

Photo of zrab11
3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a nice amber orange color with Nice off white head, and great lacing thoughout

S- Hints of carmel and dried fruit come through with sme boozynees too

T- Has a very sweet molasses taste to it with some alchol flavors mixed in the middle then finish's with a fruity toffee flavor

M-Medium bodied with good carbonation

D-Overall this is a great representation of this style. Maybe alittle much for some people but this beer is very complex and tastes great. wont be having more than 2 of these a night or i might end up passed out on the floor. Very good beer

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Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) from Founders Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 3,871 ratings.